Parker Kligerman comes into Friday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth riding the momentum of back-to-back top-10 finishes, including a series-best fourth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. the last time that the NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) was in action. Now in search of his first NNS victory, Kligerman will be bringing extra horsepower to the 1.5-mile oval. That horsepower will not be found under the hood, rather on the hood, where his No. 77 Camry will be adorned with the logo of Camp Horsin' Around - a non-profit camp facility in Kentucky specifically designed and equipped to enrich the lives of children with serious, chronic illness and physical difficulties.
Camp Horsin' Around proved to be a lucky charm for Kligerman last season. The first time that the non-profit appeared on the hood of his No. 7 Tundra was at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where the Connecticut native galloped to his first career Truck Series victory. The Kentucky charity returned for three more races in 2012, producing two more top-10 finishes, including a runner-up result in the Truck Series race at Texas last November. The No. 77 Camry will also have its other lucky charm onboard this weekend, co-primary sponsor Bandit Chippers, who have been a part of two of the team's three top-10 finishes this season.
The timing may be just right for another milestone in the young driver's career Friday night at Texas. The first-year Nationwide Series regular has produced several strong runs in his Truck Series starts at the Lone Star State and considers it among his favorite tracks. In five starts there in NASCAR's third division he has registered four top-10 results, including runner-up finishes in his first visit (June of 2010) as well as his most recent visit (Nov. 2012). Last November, Kligerman nearly picked up his second career Truck Series victory as he found himself at the front of the field in the closing laps before being passed by eventual winner Johnny Sauter with 11 laps remaining.
Kligerman will be bringing a strong pony to Friday night's race, in the form of chassis KBM-008, a Camry that collected three top-three finishes in five 2012 starts. It is the same Toyota that KBM owner Kyle Busch captured the pole with in last November's NNS race and went on to lead 65 laps before coming home with a fourth-place finish. The chassis has seen action once already this season, with Kligerman running inside the top 10 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway before a parts failure sent the talented youngster to the garage for several laps and relegated the No. 77 bunch to a season-worst 30th-place finish.
In their first full-season in the Nationwide Series, both Kligerman and crew chief Eric Phillips preached a need for consistency over the first five races. With two top-five finishes under their belt, the duo has proven capable of producing the speed to run up front. Beginning this weekend, the next step is to continue to run in the top five and put themselves in a position to compete for wins on a regular basis. The goal is to show other teams in the series that the No. 77 camp is no longer horsin' around.